In a highly competitive elective market, your ability to rank top searches, maintain the highest "star rating" on review sites, and create "social proof" online around your practice, will directly relate to your income.
Medical marketing, simply put, offers practitioners the chance to stand out from their competitors. Enjoy a more successful practice and a happier team. The increased profits can also be nice.
Until recently, most surgeons depended solely on word of mouth, or the "me too" marketing technique, which involved placing an ad in a local publication, copying the ad structure of their competitors.
The modern patient is demanding, powerful, perceptive in their observations, and exceedingly selective when deciding who to engage with.
The best option for surgeons to keep up with changing patient preferences now, is to focus their marketing and advertising efforts. Connecting directly with their potential patients online is now broadly referred to as Medical Marketing.
Over 85% of people who have cosmetic surgery are women.
Does your Medical Marketing and Personal Brand online reflect that reality? Are you approachable for, and connected to, your target market?
Will your practice be the most appealing when potential patients reach for their smartphones and begin looking for the “best surgeon for a nose job”?
If done correctly, medical marketing will ensure you're positioned as "the obvious choice" they should work with, regardless of how many other brands are online nearby.
So, how can you do that?
When someone begins browsing your website, they might be looking for:
An X-factor that elevates you over the man who is one Google result above you.
What differentiates you as a surgeon? Your patient service, cutting-edge expertise, and specialist services?
The challenge is that EVERYONE is singing the same hymn. What is it then that no one else is doing quite as well as you? Perhaps the devil is in the detail. The medical marketing.
High street and consumer brands have known the value of marketing their (perceived) uniqueness for decades. Often the decision between two pairs of trainers, handbags or cars comes down to brand perception. Many products from different brands are even made in the same factory, from the same or similar components.
Brand perception is a multi-billion pound industry, and it's coming to elective medicine.
As medical marketing is a new thing, this could be your opportunity to claim and own your space.
Being the BEST brand online pays massive dividends. It's a fact.
To attract top patients - you must present yourself as a well-known surgeon who is an undisputed leader and authority in their field. Your reputation must precede you. Not just through traditional referrals, but online and off.
You must be precise about what you are better at than others, or which type of patient you are more suited to help than others. Finally, take a lesson from the book of celebrity: YOUR Identity, not just your practice's brand, should become the brand you market heavily.
If you sell your practice and/or take in partners, your Personal Brand will have significant value to you, far beyond what you may see today.
Here are 4 of our top medical marketing tips to get you started:
1) Human connection is vital.
Understanding a possible surgical patient's decision-making process is the most effective means of reaching out to, and engaging with them.
The Internet is now the number one source for all forms of information; it has increased the desire for information. Potential patients can spend hours looking over before and after images, trawling websites and chatting on message boards. When they do - you need to be there.
Surgeons can now personalise their practice websites, blogs, marketing materials, and social media to address potential patients' concerns, challenges, and questions. This is the most effective technique to reach out to your key audience.
Set some time aside a couple of times a week to respond to questions raised online yourself, and engage with the public. They are curious, scared or excited about what you do. Help them through that journey, publicly, and you will breakdown the barriers for them. You will be the "go-to" resource.
2) "I wrote the book on xxx."
Being the specialist who "wrote the book on xxx" whatever procedure will give you massive leverage. If you write a book, it will become your most valuable asset in distinguishing yourself from other surgeons.
The writing of the book may take some time up front, but it will pay dividends for years. The best part is, now with companies like Amazon, you needn't shop for a publisher. You can e-publish the book yourself, even charging per copy. You are then a "published author".
You can give free copies (download links) to each patient who consults, perhaps pre-surgery, to build confidence.
Try and be generic in the subject to address many questions they may have, i.e. "A sceptics guide to elective surgery" or similar. You should of course highlight your specialty in the book, as well as more general topics.
A book that's been published is the ultimate business card for your practice.
If you choose to have hard copies produced, it will sit on a potential patient's desk or coffee table for months, and when the time comes, you will be the first person that comes to mind.
3) Establish your own referral system
Create strong incentives to get more people talking about you in your community.
Not much is better than someone telling a friend, "Oh, he's the best." People believe the feedback of someone who has "tasted the goods." Online and off. We call it "social proof".